by Sparks, Nicholas

"1996 was the year that changed everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at sixteen to live with an aunt she barely knew in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina's Outer Banks, she could think only of the friends and family she left behind . . . until she meets Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Handsome, genuine, and newly admitted to West Point, Bryce gradually shows her how much there is to love about the wind-swept beach town-and introduces her to photography, a passion thatwill define the rest of her life. By 2019, Maggie is a renowned travel photographer. She splits her time between running a successful gallery in New York and photographing remote locations around the world. But this year she is unexpectedly grounded overChristmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on a young assistant, she finds herself becoming close to him. As they count down the last days of the season together, she begins to tell him the story of another Christmas, decades earlier-and the love that set her on a course she never could have imagined"-

With over 100 million copies of his books sold, Nicholas Sparks is one of the world's most beloved storytellers. His novels include sixteen #1 New York Times bestsellers, and all of his books, including Three Weeks with My Brother, the memoir he wrote with his brother, Micah, have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and were translated into more than fifty languages. Eleven of Nicholas Sparks's novels&;The Choice, The Longest Ride, The Best of Me, Safe Haven, The Lucky One, The Last Song, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and Message in a Bottle&;have been adapted into major motion pictures.

*Starred Review* Maggie Dawes is a successful travel photographer and free spirit who has traveled to scores of countries and every continent. But now, diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and given only months to live, she finds herself reexamining her life. Sparks doesn't sugarcoat cancer and its treatments. Readers will be able to feel the pain, uncertainty, and endless waiting that the disease entails as Maggie tries to find comfort and meaning in her last days. She bravely records Cancer Video, a series of programs, to confront her disease and alert her followers. The shows bring Mark, a kind young man studying theology, to her gallery to apply for a job. As the months pass, Mark and Maggie become close, and she begins to share her life story. The plot flashes back and forth between the weeks building up to Maggie's last Christmas in New York City and her teenage years when her parents sent her to Aunt Linda's home in the Outer Banks to hide an unwanted pregnancy. Aunt Linda, a former nun, had helped teens before, and at her home, Maggie finds the kindness and support her parents didn't provide. She also finds Byrce, a local teen on his way to West Point, who becomes Maggie's tutor and only friend and who introduces her to the magic of the camera. As the two stories finally become one, readers will be drawn into this gentle story of love, regrets, and redemption. Perennially best-selling Sparks has a ready audience, but anyone looking for a sweet story will be enchanted. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

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